So you’ve decided to make a Sandusky prison rape joke…

Because I can’t reply to everything on Twitter… okay….

Jerry Sandusky is a deeply sick person who committed horrifying acts whose scope I don’t think I can ever fully grasp. Ignoring it is unforgivable, but trying to apprehend it fully seems so frightening. Maybe other people felt that way too. Maybe, instead of his crimes giving the internet the excuse to drag out its Office Space, “federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison” comments, they instead provoked a genuinely uncomfortable social challenge.

Or maybe they were just bad jokes.

And, look, while some people are just unoriginal and guilty of nothing more than that, there are plenty of people who don’t mind normalizing the notion that rape has some form of positive utility—thus legitimating the savage attitude pervading any discussion of the Prison Industrial Complex: that systematic torture is acceptable, that all human rights are forfeit, and that nightmares befitting third-world justice aren’t a poisonous bug but a feature.

Leaving aside the irony of embracing rape as a means of punishing it, it points up how unsurprising widespread tolerance of the abuses at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and Bagram really are: for a depressingly large number of citizens, the torture that already exists in American prisons is merely value-added.